In law there are two basic types of off lawsuits: criminal and civil. Civil lawsuits are lawsuits between two private parties, often two people. Criminal lawsuits are lawsuits brought by the state or federal government against an individual or group. Civil cases are initiated by the victim, and criminal cases are initiated by the government through a prosecutor. Criminal lawyers are those who defend the plaintiff in criminal lawsuits.

What Criminal Lawyers Do

Criminal lawyers represent their clients in lawsuits that are initiated by the government. Their clients are individuals or groups who have been accused of acts that are crimes of some sort. It could be a misdemeanor, which is a less serious crime like drunk driving, or it could be a felony, which is a serious crime like murder that could end in jail time or even the death penalty. Many people think of felonies when they think of criminal lawyers, but criminal lawyers also represent plaintiffs who are facing misdemeanor charges.

Criminal Lawyers Early in a Defense

Many people who are being charged with a crime wait to hire a lawyer. Perhaps they think the charges will be dropped, or maybe they think that the potential punishment does not warrant the cost of hiring a lawyer. They may think they can represent themselves in an attempt to save money. Whatever the reason, this is a dangerous idea, because criminal lawyers can often be of the most help early in the process.

One way that a lawyer can help is by negotiating a dismissal of the case. Lawyers know how to spot potential weaknesses in the prosecutor’s defense. Sometimes by presenting these weaknesses to the prosecuting attorney, they can help to negotiate a dismissal of the charge before the charges are officially filed.

A lawyer can also help a plaintiff by helping to negotiate a plea bargain. This involves an admission of guilt in return for a lessening of the potential consequences and an avoidance of the courtroom appearance. Many people charged with misdemeanors can avoid much of the expense of a court case by plea-bargaining.

Plaintiffs who are involved in crimes that are part of an ongoing investigation can use a criminal lawyer to help negotiate a lesser sentence in return for cooperation in the investigation. For instance, if a plaintiff knows information about another aspect of the crime that could help the prosecutors capture a high-profile criminal, the prosecutor may be willing to drop some charges in return for that information. A lawyer knows how to approach the police or the prosecutor to present this proposition.

Tips for Working with a Criminal Lawyer

If you are in a position where you need the services of a criminal lawyer, you need to work with your lawyer to ensure that your defense goes as smoothly as possible. Even if you are just facing minor charges, your lawyer is the only person who can help lower those charges and save you thousands of dollars and protect certain freedoms that you could lose with a “guilty” conviction.

Every criminal case begins with an investigation. Law enforcement officers investigate an alleged crime and make a report. This report might be very brief or it might be detailed. One officer might make one report or many officers might write many reports. Regardless, at some point these reports are assembled into a file which is sent to the District Attorney’s office possible legal action.

What Happens Now?

Someone might be arrested very quickly, but from that point on the process can be very slow. In Texas, in a misdemeanor case (one with a maximum jail sentence of one year) the District Attorney’s office decides whether or not to proceed with a criminal charge. The D.A.’s office proceeds by filing what is known as a “complaint”. In a felony case (one with a possibility of more than a year of confinement) the case must go to a “Grand Jury” which is a group of citizens who determine whether or not there is enough evidence to go forward (there almost always is).

If you are charged with a crime, realize that it is very likely that your case might drag on for a very long time. The only way for a criminal case to end quickly is with some sort of agreement. Sometimes that is with a very good deal for the defense or with the defense quickly admitting fault. Make sure you work closely with your attorney and are aware of the effects of taking or rejecting a plea offer.

Guilty, Not Guilty and Plea Bargains

At some point in a criminal case the prosecutor will make an offer to settle the case. Typically this involves some sort of a plea deal, but there are a large number of possibilities. Your attorney should be able and willing to explain the pros and cons to any offer.

At some point you will need to enter your plea. In the vast majority of cases there are three options. Guilty, Not Guilty or Nolo Contendere (No Contest). Guilty is fairly obvious, when someone pleads Guilty they are admitting that they did it. Typically, this is the result of some sort of a plea bargain.

Not Guilty means that the defendant is saying that they did not do it. In this case a jury will decide whether or not the prosecutor has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Nolo Contendere (No Contest) means that you are not saying you did it, and you are not saying you didn’t do it… you are just saying you aren’t going to fight it. There are slight differences between pleading Guilty and Nolo Contendere, but ultimately, if you plead Nolo Contendere the judge will treat it the same as a Guilty plea.

If you don’t come to an agreement with the prosecutor, it is not unusual to wait over a year to get your trial. Ask your attorney what kind of timetable your particular court has to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

You Need to Shut Up

Sorry to be so blunt, but the phrase, “Take advantage of your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent” doesn’t seem to sink in. Even a fish wouldn’t get caught if it just kept its mouth shut.

Fight the urge to talk your way out of trouble. You won’t. If you are a suspect in a criminal case and the police want to talk to you, you can only make things worse by giving a statement.

The reason for this is that when an officer asks you to give “your side” of the story, one of only two possible situations exist. The first possibility is that the officer(s) believe that they have enough evidence to arrest you even if you don’t say anything. The second possibility is that they don’t feel as if they have enough evidence to arrest you.

If the police believe there is enough evidence to arrest you then they will bring you down to give “Your side of the story”, after which they will arrest you. The purpose of having you give “Your side of the story” before they arrest you is so you commit yourself to your story before you have a chance to think or get a lawyer. Good officers also know that the more you talk the more likely you are to say something your prosecutor can use against you.

Often, officers will ask for your statement even if they don’t feel they have enough evidence to arrest you already. They will give you every opportunity to incriminate yourself. It is amazing how many people do.

When I ask my clients, “Why did you give a statement?” the most common answer is, “I did because I didn’t want to look dishonest.” The law in Texas is clear. IF YOU ASK TO REMAIN SILENT, THE JURY WILL NOT SEE OR HEAR THE REQUEST. Also, IF YOU ASK FOR A LAWYER, THE JURY WILL NOT SEE OR HEAR THE REQUEST.

When the prosecutor looks at the video, the prosecutor will not think, “Hey! That guy’s dishonest!” The prosecutor will think, “Hmm… that’s one piece of evidence I don’t have.”

When a policeman, attorney or judge is being investigated the first thing they always do is shut up. The second thing is ask for their lawyer. There is a reason for that.

The bottom line is, you don’t know the law. I have NEVER, EVER, EVER had a client that was glad that they went to the police to “clear things up”. What people think is a “defense” or, even worse, “explanation” is often a confession. Shut up and discuss your case with your lawyer.

Don’t Give Your Permission

For anything. Don’t give permission to search your car. Don’t give permission to search your house. Don’t give permission to look in your trunk. Don’t give permission to look in your pockets.

Tell the police officers that you won’t give permission for anything without speaking with your lawyer. If you give “your consent” to something your lawyer typically can’t complain about it later. If you give your consent to search your house, for example, your lawyer can’t complain that the police had no right to be there, or that the warrant was defective, etc…

The law regarding searches and seizures is amazingly complicated. It is also changing constantly. Even I regularly have to look up the law to see how it has changed or how it could, would or should be applied in a particular situation.

If you give your consent to anything, it is usually impossible for your lawyer to challenge the validity of it later. Police officers have to make legal judgments in a snap. It is hard job and mistakes are inevitable. Just because they say that they could get a warrant (for example) doesn’t mean that they can (or will).

Officers love when suspects give consent. It usually means that they won’t have to worry about the evidence they find being thrown out of court for legal reasons.

Don’t Believe the Police

Would it surprise you to learn that the police lie? Doesn’t seem right, does it? Aren’t police supposed to be completely honest?

Lying is a completely proper investigative technique. We want our officers to be able to lie. Every undercover detective has to tell many lies and exercise deception.

Good police officers use deception in many different ways. Telling a suspect that they have DNA when they don’t in order to get a confession is very good police work. It is also good police work to make a suspect feel comfortable and believed while the suspect is giving a statement.

Officers don’t have to tell you that they are officers. A good officer would never lie in court, but a good officer will lie during an investigation in order to get information or evidence.

Deception is a valid law enforcement tool.

Take Care when Choosing a Lawyer

Facing criminal charges is a turning point in a person’s life. What happens during a person’s criminal case will affect them for the rest of their lives. Internet background searches are getting cheaper and cheaper and a person’s criminal history will determine whether or not they get a job, mortgage, etc.. Picking a defense attorney is a bigger decision than it has ever been, and it has always been huge.

There are many factors to consider when picking an attorney. Whether or not your lawyer is a former prosecutor is a huge consideration. Another important consideration is whether or not your lawyer is a trial attorney. Also, listen to your instincts when choosing a defense attorney.

It is very difficult to defend or tear into a criminal case if you don’t know how to build one. Only a prosecutor or a former prosecutor knows in detail how to build a criminal case. Only a prosecutor or a former prosecutor knows in detail what sort of evidentiary and practical problems a prosecutor faces on a regular basis.

When lawyers are accused of crimes, they usually pick a former prosecutor to defend them.

Be very aware of whether or not your attorney is an actual trial attorney. Some defense attorneys never go to trial. Most defense attorneys rarely go to trial. Only a select few defense lawyers actually try cases on a regular basis. Prosecutors know which attorneys are willing to fight them and which attorneys will eventually take whatever deal they are offered.

Make sure you know whether or not your attorney actually tries cases.

Another very important consideration is whether or not you feel comfortable with your lawyer. If you are putting your life in someone’s hands, you have the right to feel comfortable with them. Trust yourself to know which lawyer is the right fit for you. You will have to work very closely with them.

This Guide is Only the Beginning

When I meet with a new client, I typically take a long time to answer their questions. Their lives are on the line and if I was in their position, I would have a million questions about what is going on. It is your lawyer’s job to make certain you understand exactly what is going on with your criminal case.

There is no way that this guide could have answered all of your questions. Hopefully, this guide has given you something to think about regarding your criminal case. Please feel free to use this guide as a beginning point to conversations with your lawyer.

Do not base any decision you make based solely on this guide. Use your attorney to understand exactly what is going on in your particular case. Your case is unique and you need to rely on your lawyer to help you decide what is right for you, in your own defense.

Common Crimes and Penalties in Texas

In Texas, the legislature has divided up criminal offenses based on the crime’s severity. Crimes that the legislature believes to be more serious have higher minimum punishments and/or maximum punishments. In most cases, probation is possible instead of incarceration, but that will depend on the very specific factors of any particular case. These rules are full of exceptions and it is important to ask your lawyer how the particular facts of your case may affect your potential punishment. It is important that you know that information.

The least severe “crimes” are class “C” misdemeanors. They are punishable with no jail time and up to a $500 fine. The majority of traffic tickets fall into this category. Examples include Public Intoxication, Driving Under the Influence (NOT THE SAME AS DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED) and most Thefts under $50.

Class “B” misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $2000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. Driving While Intoxicated (First Offense), Most Thefts between $50 and $500, Possession of Marijuana (less than 2 ounces) and Driving While License Invalid are in this punishment range.

Class “A” misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $4000 fine and up to a year in jail. Crimes of this class include Driving While Intoxicated (Second Offense), Most thefts between $500 and $1500, Possession of Marijuana (2 to 4 ounces) and Assault causing bodily injury.

“State Jail” Felonies have a punishment range from 6 months to 2 years behind bars. It is very important to be aware that anyone doing time for a state jail felony will not get any “good time” credit. Someone sentenced to a year in state jail will spend every day for a year incarcerated. These crimes include Possession of Cocaine (less than 1 gram), Possession of Marijuana (4 ounces to 5 pounds), and Thefts between $1500 and $20,000.

Most people, when arrested, panic and say things that they later regret while facing the judge. When you are facing criminal charges, do not go on the defensive. Instead, get the assistance of a criminal lawyer who is used to such proceedings. Hiring a criminal lawyer should not be difficult.

There are several reasons why one should hire this kind of attorney. In case one finds himself in tight situations with the law. As a criminal, you have rights and interests that your lawyer will ensure are observed. He will inform you of other things that call for criminal charges like conspiracy, kidnapping and so on.

What should you look at when going out to look for the person who will play a part in determining your destiny? Some people go for gender, which can make you miss the chance of being defended by a great attorney who may happen to be a woman. You should use lawyers, friends and family members to furnish you with names of good attorneys or law firms. Afterwards, you should make a list of these names.

Many were called but few were chosen. Therefore, you need to remain with a few names of reputable lawyers so you can do some check up on them or even visit them and conduct your own interview. One lawyer you should avoid is the one who tells you that all is well. This is because some lawyers are known to say this as they have dirty ways.

One should also find out how these attorneys conduct themselves professionally. They should have a clean history of commitment to clients whether they win a case or not, and they should not be known for bribing. Your lawyer should be someone that you can open up to without any fear or doubts, because the two of you need each other.

Do not hire a cheap attorney just because you want to save money, nor should you hire an expensive one. In short, money should not make you lose direction. Every attorney charges a fee on the first consultation then he will go back to volumes of law books to see which laws are related to your case and how they can help your case. After doing his research, he will call you and discuss his findings with you and afterwards advice you on what is the best next action to take.

Please ensure that you are working with a person who will be on your case even if you do not have a chance of winning. Now that you know the basics of how to hire an attorney for offenders, you should use them during that time when the police take you. Your rights will be read aloud to you, and you may even be offered a government attorney.

Remember that hiring a criminal lawyer will ensure that justice is done during the trial. Witnesses will speak the truth and the evidence against you that will be allowed is one that is strong and solid. So do not fear because the criminal lawyers are here to sort you out.

When crimes come under the law in this area, it is in reference to burglary, housebreaking, and unlawful entry. Perhaps they all sound like one and the same, but they do have their differences and as such, have different punishments assigned to them.

Burglary: The laws for burglary are quite interesting in that first they specifically deal with actually breaking into and entering a living area of another individual, and that both the breaking and entering were done at night. Finally these acts were done with the intent to commit any of the crimes that punishable under Article 118 up to and including Article 128, but excluding Article 123a.

Housebreaking: This applies to an individual who unlawfully enters a building or structure belonging to someone else, and had the express intent of carrying out an unlawful act.

Unlawful entry: This can be applicable when an individual entered a property belonging to another person. Most often, unlawful entry refers to a place where someone lives or a place used for storage purposes. Performing this act shows the conduct of the accused was not in good order and discipline according to the standards of the Armed Forces, and therefore discredits the Armed Forces.

What has been said so far is just the basic elements of the proposed crimes. They become far more detailed and explicit according to the circumstances of the crime.

For example, if an individual is charged with burglary it must be with the intent of committing one or more of the offences outlined in Articles 118 to 128. If evidence showed that the intent was to commit a crime that did not fall within these Articles, then the charge for this act would be reduced to housebreaking.

In the case of housebreaking, it has to be shown that the accused had the intention of committing the crime within the building he broke into. The intent to commit the crime that he was charged with and not any other crime must also be shown. It is also important to point out here that the offense cannot be specifically a military offense.

For unlawful entry there does not have to be any intent to commit a crime in order for the charges to be laid or to uphold a guilty finding.

One may be curious as to how the law decides what proves intent. There are many circumstances that can imply this, but normally it is based on the time and the way that the unlawful entry was made, and what the conduct of the accused was once he had gained entry.

These are just a few examples of how the law looks at varying degrees of protection of property under military law.

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The birth of the internet has transformed the world as we know it. It has clearly grown to astronomic proportions since it became a household name in the mid 1990’s. If you were born before 1980, you have watched the world change from using rotary telephones to iPhones. These days nearly everything can be controlled by the touch of a button.

Bills can be paid online, movie tickets can be purchased online, you can talk to your loved ones online, and you can take a complete college course – without having to step foot on campus. The possibilities of the internet are endless – and technology is changing more rapidly than we can learn to understand it.

Today, teens and individuals in their twenties are grasping and exploiting computer technology like never before. Children are already known for their marked ability to learn and assimilate information at a very young age – absorbing and utilizing the internet and computer systems are no different than learning how to build a tree fort. For some families, their 13-year-old can build an entire computer system as his father built a model car the generation before.

With the advent of the internet, came an entirely new way to commit crimes. The terms internet crime, cybercrime and computer crime are used interchangeably. Simply put, internet crime or cybercrime is a form of crime where the internet or computers are used as a medium to commit crime.

Internet crimes are vast and expansive and can include anything from downloading illegal music files to stealing someone’s identity. Cybercrime can also include stealing millions of dollars from online bank accounts to distribution child pornography. One of the most common forms of internet crimes involves identity theft which is commonly done through phishing and pharming. These methods set up fake websites (that appear legitimate) to lure unsuspecting victims. People are asked to give out personal information such as name, address, phone numbers and bank accounts. Criminals then take this information and “steal” the person’s identity.

Internet crimes are not limited to targeting the consumer; cybercrimes have gone so far as to take on global proportions. Cybercrimes can also encompass criminal activities such as espionage, financial theft, and sabotage. In May 2010, the Pentagon established the new U.S. Cyber Command, which is headed by the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), to defend American military networks. It also serves to attack the computer systems of other countries.

Due to the fact that criminal activities have spread at a rate that law enforcement has had difficulty keeping up, entire task forces have been developed to crack down on internet and cybercrimes. There is a method called electronic discovery, or e-discovery, which is a type of cyber forensics. Electronic discovery is a process employed by law enforcement where they can obtain, secure, search and process any electronic data for use as evidence in a legal investigation. Electronic discovery can involve just a single computer or it can incorporate an entire computer network.

When you are facing allegations for internet or cybercrimes, it is essential that you seek the advice of a highly skilled attorney who you can trust. When your future is at stake – you need somebody who is familiar with both computer technology and the criminal justice system. You are urged to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you learn more about what steps you can take to protect your legal rights and your future.

If you have been accused of murder or drug peddling then you need to hire a criminal lawyer. Crime is a subject that most people find interesting when it is a part of anyone else’s life except theirs. Some of the best television programs are about court trials, solving homicide cases, and catching the actual culprit. It is all very nice and entertaining when we watch it on the television. But, what happens when it becomes a part of our lives? In a situation like this we need to hire a skilled criminal lawyer to represent us.

Even if you are innocent, being accused of a crime is going to put a black mark on your reputation; a good lawyer will be able to protect your reputation and rights.

Before actually getting down to the task of finding an attorney for yourself, you have to determine the nature of your crime. If you are accused of theft then a divorce lawyer will not be of much help.

As there are different types of crime, you will have to look for an attorney who specializes in the crime you have been charged with. For example a criminal attorney that specializes in juvenile defense will not be of much help if you are charged with drunk driving.

Therefore, how do you find the right lawyer? Here are a few points that may help you:

You could start by looking up the yellow pages. There are a lot of names listed there. After short-listing a few names; you could call them up and make an appointment to meet them.
Another useful source that could be of help is the Internet. Some lawyers have their own websites. These give you a good idea about what field of law they specialize in.
If you happen to have a lawyer as a friend then asking him for a few recommendations could land you a good lawyer.
A court case is usually a long drawn process, so be sure to get a clear idea of the amount of money you would have to pay for the case. Hire a lawyer whose charges fits your budget.
The first meeting with a lawyer is usually free, so go ahead and meet a few lawyers before you decide on one.

To win your case you need a good criminal lawyer. Phillipsburg has one of the most recognized law firms in the State: Aaroe Law Offices.

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In this life, people cannot do without the services of a good lawyer. Crime happens everyday around us. Sometimes we find ourselves in rare situations that make us suffer unfairly. Other personal circumstances such as bankruptcy, real estates and mortgage force us to hire lawyers. In one word, good lawyers are very imperative. Dealing with lawyers is not a simple thing. Many issues concerning hiring lawyers are crucial and they come first. For example, you many find yourself hiring lawyers on retainer. These lawyers are not any different from those you know.

The lawyers only ask for a retainer fee so that they can give you their services. What is a retainer fee? This type of a fee is on hourly basis. It is different from the normal charges you pay a lawyer because of defending your position in court. They include the following:

• Consultation fees – Before you can start working with a given lawyer, you have to set a few appointments with him or her.

• Research work – After listening to your side of story, your lawyer spends some time doing research to help you. You will have to pay for his or her time.

• Interviews – as the lawyer studies your case, you and him or her will look for possible witnesses. Then, your lawyer has to conduct an interview with each witness. Most lawyers want to receive a pay for their time.

Lawyers on retainer want only to ascertain your seriousness in the entire procedure. That is why they will ask for a specific deposit first. When looking for this kind of a lawyer, examine your budget first. Most people desire to save up money in legal matters as much as possible. You should look for a cheaper hourly rate lawyer. Some people do not take it kindly. However, if you think about it, you put aside huge amounts of money as down payment for the assets you love.

If you plan to hire a lawyer about a case related to the same assets, you should not feel bad if ask to pay a retainer fee. A retainer fee is just a small deposit compared to other types you have paid before. The more you refuse to pay the fee, the more you delay your justice. Even so, take your time to select a good lawyer. There is a big chance that you will sort out good lawyers from bad lawyers if you take your time. When you find a good lawyer, make sure that all retainer agreements are in writing.

The U.S. military is governed by laws and regulations that are unique from civilian laws, meaning there are crimes that can be committed in the military that cannot be committed in civilian life. If charged with a military crime, a service member should hire a court-martial defense lawyer for counsel and defense. Here are some of the more common military crimes a member of the military should be aware of.

Dereliction

Any service member charged with a crime under the banner of “dereliction of duty” should be counselled by a qualified court-martial lawyer to understand the nature of the charge. Dereliction of duty can take many forms. Negligence in carrying out duty, where a service member actively refuses to carry out assigned duties, is one such example. Also, if a soldier or officer is incapacitated through personal actions, like falling asleep on the job or excessive drink or drugs, it can cause that service member to not carry out assigned duties or to perform them in a haphazard way. Finally, a service member can fake an illness or commit self-injury to get out of work. You should have a court-martial defense lawyer on hand to explain these concepts and prepare a defense if you should be charged.

Abandonment of Post

Should a soldier abandon their post without permission, it is grounds for a military crime. A soldier can temporarily abandon a post, which is called going AWOL, or Absent Without Leave. Some soldiers may completely abandon their post or duty with no intention to return to their unit, barrack, base or other place of duty. This is known as desertion. A soldier that is AWOL for more than thirty days is considered to have deserted. Finally, service members that miss boarding their vessel, aircraft, or fail to join their unit as it pulls out can be charged with missing movement. However, not all failure to meet up with a military unit or craft is a crime. If a sailor is headed for an aircraft carrier and is hit by a drunk or negligent driver on the road and misses the ship, that is not a crime. A service member who ends up in these situations should absolutely contact a court-martial defense lawyer.

Crimes Involving Property

A service member cannot sell off military property, such as explosives, vehicles or firearms, without proper authorisation. A soldier or officer can also run afoul of property regulations by damaging, losing or destroying property either deliberately or through omission. In the case of destruction, sale, loss or any other disposition that is prohibited by regulations, the property’s value is assessed and will direct the punishment of the guilty service member. A military lawyer-defense must be on hand to guide anyone accused of one of these offences and explain their rights under the law.

Knowing the different types of transgressions that can occur in the military can go a long way to avoiding them, but in the event you should find yourself charged with a military crime, contact a court-martial defense lawyer that knows and understands the law and can give you the best possible defense.